Ideas for…Fresh-Air Showers

Fun and functional, outdoor showers keep sand at bay.

white shutter dividers surround an outdoor shower

Photo by Jean Allsopp

Match Setting

Design pros recommend harmonizing a stand-alone shower with your home. “These showers are best when they look like a part of their site and take advantage of surrounding views,” says Ethan Fierro in his book The Outdoor Shower: Creative Design Ideas for Backyard Living, from the Functional to the Fantastic (Storey, 2006).

Outdoor Shower Room with a A-Shaped Open-Air Roofline

Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Mimic Details

When selecting a style, mimic your home’s architectural details, then incorporate the structure into the landscape with fragrant and colorful plantings. “If your shower will be used primarily at night, give some thought to lighting,” Ethan advises.

Mirrors, Towels, Bath Sponges and Robes for an Outoor Beach Shower

Photo by Brian Vanden Brink

Equip With Amenities

• Provide comfy robes and sea-scented products to pamper guests with a spa-like experience.

• Fill perforated storage containers with loofahs, back brushes, and sea sponges. Keep some aloe vera gel on hand, too, for post-shower soothing.

Cheerful Yellow-Striped Curtains Hang from an Outdoor Shower Built into the Corner of a Deck

Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Get Creative

A running rail salvaged from the bow of a boat finds new use as this shower’s curved curtain rod. The homeowner crafted the showerhead from a large seashell.

Orange-tiled Outdoor Shower Built into the Side of the Beach Home

Photo by Bruce Buck

Design Storage Solutions

• Mellow out with music. Supply a waterproof MP3 or CD player for the shower area.

• Buy eco-friendly soaps and shampoos for a luxurious scrub that won’t harm vegetation and wildlife or clog drains.

• Control water runoff. Cover the floor with rocks, bricks, or stones. If the shower is elevated, make sure water drains through floorboards onto sandy or quick-draining soil.

Outdoor Shower Built Near a Sand Dune

Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Do Your Research

• Check local codes for building and drainage restrictions before starting your project.

• An outdoor shower may tax your hot-water system, so consider updating the system before installation.

Modern, Wood-Slatted Outdoor Shower Wall

Photo by Jean Allsopp

Use Smart Construction

Treated wood, rust-resistant fixtures, and an outdoor-fabric curtain withstand harsh coastal conditions.

• Choose materials that will survive the elements. Use pressure-treated, painted, or composite lumber; synthetic decking; mildew-resistant fabrics; and rust-resistant fixtures.

• Stash rolled-up towels in a galvanized bucket to warm them in the sun.

A Climbing Vine Trellis Surrounds an Outdoor Shower

Photo by Bruce Buck

Define the Space

• When room is limited, create a niche with a corner shower or wall-mounted showerhead.

• Use a trellis to define the space around a wall-mounted fixture. Plant a climbing vine to create an aromatherapy session for bathers.

Criss-crossed blue oars decorate the changing area of an outdoor shower.

Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Save Room

• Hang shatterproof mirrors to reflect light and visually expand the space without the danger of broken glass.

• Mount boat cleats or hooks to hold wet bathing suits, robes, and towels.

• Build a bench box for extra storage and seating.

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